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Sacramento Kings to move G-League franchise to Stockton

The Reno Bighorns have operated as a Sacramento minor league affiliate since their inception in 2008. They have been operated by the Kings since they purchased the club in 2016.

The Sacramento Kings will relocate its NBA minor league franchise from Reno to Stockton pending league approval, the team announced on Monday.

The G-League team, which will be renamed later this Spring, would move from Reno to the 12,000 seat Stockton Arena, located on at the city's downtown waterfront, with play beginning next season.

The Reno Bighorns have operated as a Sacramento minor league affiliate since their inception in 2008. They have been operated by the Kings since they purchased the club in 2016.

“Our NBA G League team has been an incredible asset to help prepare players for NBA action and bringing the team closer to Sacramento will allow us to continue to build on that success and increase efficiency to this valuable development tool,” said Kings General Manager Vlade Divac. “Kings fans in Stockton will now have an opportunity to see the next-generation of NBA players each week.”

The Stockton Arena is no stranger to sports franchises, serving as the home for the Stockton Heat — the minor league team in the American Hockey League for the Calgary Flames of the NHL. The city is also home to the Stockton Ports, a Class-A Advanced baseball affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.

“It is my honor to welcome the Kings organization to Stockton and I look forward to watching NBA G League action at the Stockton Arena,” said Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs. “The Kings have been known for their tremendous impact in the community and we’re excited to have their support as we continue to reinvent Stockton.”

The Stockton City Council will review and vote April 17 on the agreement that will allow the team to use the arena. The City staff report will be available for public review beginning Wednesday.

Stockton's basketball operations staff, led by Kings G League General Manager Anthony McClish, will operate in Sacramento from the team's former training facility on the Sleep Train Arena property in Natomas.

The team plans to open a business operations office in Stockton, and the organization will join Mayor Tubbs May 24 for the State of the City and the first Sacramento Kings Community Day in Stockton.

The Bighorns finished last season as the Pacific Division Champions but were eliminated by the South Bay Lakers in the Western Conference playoffs last week.

NBA teams utilize their G League franchises by assigning players throughout the season to the minor league affiliate for development needs. Presently, there are 26 teams in the G League, each with one-on-one affiliations with NBA franchises.

“With the addition of NBA G League Basketball in the Central Valley, each of California’s NBA

franchises have a powerful asset within an hour of their headquarters to help develop their

players and expand their fan bases with elite professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere,” said NBA G League President Malcolm Turner.

Sacramento assigned five players to Reno for a total of 26 games played last season.

JaKarr Sampson and Jack Cooley served as two-way players for the Kings and Bighorns. NBA rosters added two-way players at the beginning of the season, which allowed two-players to split time between the NBA and G League teams.

Nigel Hayes, who signed a two-year deal with the Kings over a week ago, spent this past season with the G League's Westchester Knicks.

Much like the Kings, the Stockton team will form its roster following training camp in October, with the season beginning in November.

Follow the conversation with Sean Cunningham on Twitter.

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